Driving Through America’s Southwest

Southwest Trip: Intro

When I got interested in travel photography years ago, I worked as a graphic designer. In the beginning, I treated photography as a hobby and creative outlet. But, at some point, I realized that travel photography combined two of my favorite passions—a passion for exploration and a passion for discovering the beauty around us through a camera lens. I also recognized that travel photography is truly what I wanted in my life.

I gave myself plenty of time to transition from graphic design into photography and started planning my future adventures. I put together a travel wish list over the next few years so that I had goals and enough time for planning.

My wish list had the usual suspects—Australia and New Zealand—as well as dreams to return to Europe to see how much it had changed since I left. When I was ready to start executing my plans, I visited the southwest only to find that my plans were entirely derailed. I was blown away by the unconventional beauty, vastness, and the variety of landscapes. I put all my plans on hold to further explore the region.

Driving Through America’s Southwest – Intro 1
Utah. Lake Powell
Driving Through America’s Southwest – Intro 2
Utah. Zion National Park

Discovering the Southwest

For the last seven years or so, I have traveled to the southwest at least twice a year. I have no plans to stop because it still feels that I have only scratched the surface. In the beginning, I started like most tourists by visiting the most popular spots. But, with every visit, I went deeper and deeper into exploring the less visited and less crowded spots.

This year, my plan was to explore the backcountry of Utah and Arizona by driving the dirt roads and camping in remote places far from civilization. While that was the plan, we (my wife and I) did not manage to execute it properly. The most obvious reason for our failed plan was the weather. The rain made most of the dirt roads unpassable leaving us to scramble to adjust our plans.

Although half of my planning did not materialize, I consider the latest trip to be the most successful and exciting. Every day changes and corrections to our itinerary kept us on our toes and allowed us to discover some amazing and unintended locations.

Please follow my visual diary where I outline my 12-day driving trip through the southwest. 

Driving Through America’s Southwest – Intro 3
California. Sierra Mountains
Driving Through America’s Southwest – Intro 4
California. Big Sur
Driving Through America’s Southwest – Intro 5
Nevada. Valley of Fire
Driving Through America’s Southwest – Intro 6
Utah. Goosenecks State Park
by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

3 thoughts on “Driving Through America’s Southwest – Intro”

  1. I have purchased most of your presets and have copies of most of your tutorials, which I find helpful. Thanks. I love the photos you have presented here and have travelled through most of the places you are driving through now – taking photos as I go. I will enjoy following your trip. Best of luck. I have a small Adobe Portfolio site with only 5 galleries at this date that I would share with you – if you ask. Have fun.

    • Myron,
      feel free to share your portfolio here. I would love to check it.

  2. Beautiful images. How fortunate of you to have the resources and time for this kind of project.


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